10 Things You Don't Know About The 2006 Draft

In about 10-12 years when Vernon Davis starts to physically break down perhaps all 254-pound tight ends will run a 4.38 forty time. But for the time being, we'll brand him a freak. Davis confirmed at the NFL Scouting Combine that he's the future of the position and very soon to be the present.

THE BEST NFL PLAYER IN THE DRAFT IS NOT REGGIE BUSH

Davis is no workout wonder like Tony Mandrich, Robert Gallery or Matt   Jones. The Maryland phenomenon tore up the ACC for three seasons, leading the conference in receiving yards as a junior, more than Miami's Sinorice Moss. He's speedy enough line out wide and strong enough to line up at fullback.

The intimidating part is besides ridiculous speed and sure hands, he can actually block. In fact if you talk to him he'll say he relishes blocking most.

He has all the physical machinery to make an impact at the position the league has never seen. He has the body of Shannon Shape. He's got hops like Antonio Gates. He's got an ability to find creases like Jeremy Shockey and the speed of a.. Well no tight end has ever had his speed.

In a class jam-packed of athletic skill players, Davis totally stands apart. By the time he's finished, Davis could influence the tight end position on the same plateau Lawrence Taylor did at linebacker.

HALOTI NGATA WON'T BE THE FIRST DEFENSIVE TACKLE TAKEN

Just like Ngata, Brodrick Bunkley has a nasty looking presence to him and that's meant as a compliment. Unlike Ngata, Bunkley plays like a beast. Ridiculously sculpted for over 300 pounds, Bunkley has speed and playmaking ability attached to him Ngata can't rival.

While Ngata will be a rock-hard run stuffer, especially in a 3-4 setting, Bunkley can throw an entire offensive line off its game. A great combine solidified Bunkley's rise from a late first/early second rounder into the middle of the first round and perhaps higher. Don't be the least bit stunned if Buffalo tabbed him eighth overall.

JAY CUTLER WILL BE THE SECOND OVERALL PICK

Everybody and their great grandmother has Matt Leinart disappearing second in their mock draft. Not so fast.

Freshly anointed New Orleans head coach Sean Peyton is a quarterback's guy first and foremost. He's said to be enamored with the way Cutler threw at the combine and for good reason. Not only did Cutler impress everyone merely by working out while Leinart and Vince Young took a pass, he did it beyond impressively. He made throws all over the place and ran a very respectable 4.77 40-yard dash. He also threw up 225 pounds 23 times, more than some linemen could boast. It wasn't just the numbers that were impressive; it shows how hard he's willing to work.

While Leinart is measured the more polished quarterback its Cutler that has the greater upside and projected NFL capabilities. Don't be at all surprised to see him go second overall and if you're Detroit at nine you can forget him unless you're trading up.

MARCUS VICK WILL BE DRAFTED ON DAY ONE

VICK ARRESTEDYou've got to hand it to the NFL Network and the league in general. They refused to let Vick be a significant point of the NFL combine. Despite interview requests that would make Angelina Jolie jealous, Vick was not given a main podium to address gossip seekers. His quotes barely got on the air and NFL Network rarely showed him working out.

The reason is because mostly what you hear is true. Marcus is a bad apple. There's many around the league who say he came off as unapologetic and borderline ignorant during interviews.

Still, the bottom line is he's a good football player, much better than Maurice Clarrett, who was drafted in the third round last year. Best case football-wise he can be a lesser version of the Vince Young experience. A team like Dallas, Oakland or of course big brother led Atlanta may take him in the third.

JIMMY WILLIAMS IS SLIPPING

Just a short time ago Williams was running neck and neck with Michael Huff to be the first defensive back chosen. At worst he was projected as a top 12 pick. Now he may be lucky to be the second DB taken.

While Williams is as striking as ever physically, reports are speculate he's been coming across as unsteady during team interviews. Some clubs whom originally had him high on their board now wonder about his attitude and motivation.

Tye Hill and Jason Allen, either or both could possibly go before Williams. Both had inspiring combine workouts.

ERNIE SIMS IS RISING

There's probably not a faster linebacker in the entire draft, including AJ Hawk and teams are starting to take notice. Not long ago he was considered a reach in round one but now scouts are comparing him to Johnathan Vilma. He could easily be gone when Philadelphia picks 14th. There's no way he lasts until 25th when the Giants pick, as many mock drafts indicate now.

ONE MIAMI PLAYER WILL GO IN FIRST ROUND, BUT NOT WHO YOU THINK

Sinorice Moss and Eric Winston are two Canes' that have been projected as low first round picks. Both will go early in the second but unless something funny happens neither will have their card called by Paul Tagliabue during ESPN's 11-hour round-one coverage.

The only Miami player who's going in the first round is Kelly Jennings. He's a blanket cover corner who will go somewhere between San Diego, Kansas City and Cincinnati. Several are calling him the best cover corner in the entire draft.

THE BEST NFL RECEIVER IN THE DRAFT WON'T GO UNTIL THE SECOND ROUND

Santonio Holmes is regarded as the finest prospect in the receiving class and is likely be the first wide out taken. Chad Jackson wowed scouts with a crazy 4.32/40 and climbed into the first round.

But in the NFL, the best receiver of this crop is going to be Michigan's Jason Avant. He didn't run the forty at the combine so his speed will be an issue. What scouts can't take issue with are his incredible hands and instincts to set up opposing corners. Coaches thought he wore crazy glue at the combine because he didn't drop anything. While it would be ridiculous to compare him to Jerry Rice, he has the ability to be that type of receiver.

Some teams will take a pass because speed will be their apprehension. They'll live to regret it.

VINCE YOUNG IS GOING TO THE RAIDERS

Some people, many in fact expect Tennessee to take Young with the third pick in the draft. It's not going to happen. The Titans are going to take D'Brickshaw Ferguson third overall and worry about left tackle again in about a decade.

The Jets picking fourth have redone Chad Pennington's deal and will bring in a one-year veteran like Jon Kitna as insurance in case he breaks down again physically. They'll take Mario Williams (or will they? See below), who takes over for John Abraham after he's traded somewhere.

AJ Hawk and Vernon Davis will be the next to go which brings the Raiders into play at seven.

Notwithstanding taking Andrew Walter in the third round last season and liking him, Davis is the kind of owner willing to take a gamble on a talent like Young.

Are you going to get the Vince Young that demonstrated more poise than any college QB in history in the Rose Bowl? Or are you receiving the Young that was woefully not ready for interview and intelligent tests at the combine, knowing millions of dollars could be on the line?

Nobody knows for sure right now what kind of NFL QB Young will be, but the hunch is Davis is going to find out.

BUSH WILL GO FIRST, BUT NOT TO HOUSTON

New York Jets Logo PinTexans general manager Charley Casserly is posturing a lot less than you think when he talks about dealing from the top spot. As great a player and marquee name Reggie Bush is, the club is happy with Domanick Davis and have their eyes on one of three players; Ferguson, Mario Williams and Hawk.

At the end of the day, Casserly will pull off a trade with the New York Jets and move down to four where he's still guaranteed to get one of the three. New York, despite having so many other needs will take the bait. The Jets then have the guy who'll give Curtis Martin an earlier-than-anticipated send off.

The Jets will still be terrible in 2006. But at least they'll be terrible with Reggie Bush.

(Pat Moran is a contributing writer for Scout.com and Billszone.com. You can email him at patmoran2006@yahoo.com)


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